Joseph Severn was the father-in-law of Ruskin’s cousin Joan Agnew, who married Arthur Severn in 1871. He spent most of his life in Rome, where Ruskin first met him as a young man in 1840; a moderately successful painter, he supplemented his income by making this kind of copy for collectors and wealthy tourists. This is the focal point of Titian’s most famous painting in Venice, 'The Assumption of the Virgin' (1516–1518). Painted as an altarpiece for the Church of the Frari, for a century from 1818 it was displayed in the Accademia picture gallery (where both Severn and Ruskin saw it).
Where to see this painting?
Ruskin Library, Lancaster University
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